Horse Training Club

Why Hacking is as Significant as Schooling

There’s no denying that schooling is an important part of your journey to be the best horse and rider combo you can be. However, it gets boring for you and your horse. It’s important to have some variety and hacking is the perfect way to shake things up while still working on discipline at the same time.

Variety is Key

Fight boredom by changing location. Just like going for a walk can clear your mind, it will do the same for your horse. A combination of schooling, hacking and rest days will keep them happy and well rounded. Your horse will be excited when you come to ride it and you will both benefit from a happy forward-going ride.

It’s a Scary World

If your horse only ever sees your riding school, then you may face problems if you ever leave your comfort zone. Whether it’s a visit to your friend’s house or a competition, sometimes it is necessary to move location. Just like with anything – the unknown can be scary and you may face problems like spooking and napping. By regularly hacking along as many different routes as possible, you will give your horse the chance to acclimatize to the great unknown. The more obstacles and hazards they see, the braver they will become.

Practice Somewhere New

If you are trying to master a new technique with your school or perhaps trying to learn a specific dressage routine – this can be done outside. Use nature as your arena and try to find a flat field. Be creative with your markers: bushes, plants, trees – all will work when you’re trying to create a school. Your horse won’t associate the practice with flatwork and you are likely to have more progress than doing the same thing in the ring repetitively.

There is also a bonus in practicing outside as the ground will be more rugged. When you ride in a soft, controlled area, it allows your horse to become lazy and not pick up its feet, however outside they will have to look where they’re going!

Social Enjoyment for you Both

Hacking alone is fun, but in a group is even better. It gives you and your horse a chance to be social and enjoy the company. If your horse is shy, then try going out with one calm horse and building up. This tactic also works on an excitable horse as soon the novelty will wear off. It is important your horse must know how to socialize, especially if you are planning to compete as this will stop the pair of you from getting into trouble.

Whole Body Benefit

Even though you can incorporate schooling into a hack, it’s also nice to use it as a chance to relax. After a particularly hard session, why not go for a hack to let your horse cool down and stretch their muscles. Let the reins go loose and their head stretch out. A few pats and cuddles wouldn’t go amiss either. It’s a perfect bonding experience where you can enjoy each other’s company and the scenery.

Improving Fitness

Hacking is the perfect way to improve your horses’ overall health and fitness. There are different obstacles and terrain. You can go uphill, practice jumping over obstacles or even do sprint training out in the open. Going outside gives you a whole variety of options that you can’t access in the ring. Even if you’re not getting your horse for a particular reason, having their fitness levels up means it will be able to face any challenges.

What if my Horse is Bad at Hacking?

Sometimes it can take a while for a horse to get used to the outside. Hacking alone is usually the best way to start, but if your horse is a bad napper then try to build up their confidence. Go out with a companion before attempting to leave again. You can even practice leaving the yard first with the other horse behind until it isn’t a problem. Your horse will have learned that it’s okay to leave and you shouldn’t have so many problems next time.

Even the biggest horse can be a scaredy-cat and if your house is big on spooking then it’s important to react the correct way. Instead of getting frustrated try and stay calm. Let your horse investigate and have a look. Afterwards, they should be able to walk past. If the worst comes to worst, then keep their head turned away and insist they pass the spooky object. Every time you overcome a hurdle make sure to give them loads of praise and maybe even keep some treats handy for this occasion.

When it all comes together it there is nothing better than the freedom of riding wherever you feel like. Just remember these key points:

  • Charge your phone. It’s important for emergencies and also if you get lost!
  • If you are planning to do road work then wear a high-vis, even in the day
  • Enjoy the experience and have fun!

Reasons to Ride Bareback

When it comes to riding, we already know the drill: find your horse, tack-up and off you go. But what if you forget the saddle? Riding bareback is something that comes naturally when you are a child, yet as an adult, hardly any of us ride – let alone train – without it. This is a shame seeing as the benefits of riding this way are undeniable and just waiting to be unlocked.

Improved Posture

Whether you are a professional or just starting, there’s nothing more important when riding a horse than your seat. You might have all the knowledge in the world, but if you can’t stay on then it’s all to waste. Riding bareback is something that can improve everyone’s posture as it helps develop the muscles and you are forced to sit up straight and grip with your legs. With no saddle, there is nothing to hold onto and it forces you to move with the horse. It targets your legs and your core, ensuring you have the strength to ride with your horse and not just be a passenger on-board.

Greater Understanding of Communication

With no saddle to block you from your horse, it is an insight into how sensitive they are. Is it really necessary to kick so hard? You might be surprised by how reactive horses can be, especially to the smallest of touches. This is a good opportunity to get to know what works and what doesn’t. Practice removing your feet completely and just shifting your weight to control your horse in the ring. The less movement you can do, the cleaner of a rider you will be, especially if you are planning and entering a showing competition.

Bond with your Horse

There is nothing like the bond between a horse and a rider. Two beings working in perfect harmony towards the same goal. Too often riding can become about practicing and mastering new skills. An exercise like this is a great way for both of you to have some fun and work together. While your horse might be surprised at first, they are sure to enjoy the experience.

Gain Confidence

The expression ‘get back on the horse’ exists for a reason and riding can be a dangerous sport. Maybe you’ve had a nasty fall or been shaken by a recent experience – it can be hard to get on and ride with the confidence you had before. This is where bareback comes in. You can combine your improved posture, newfound strength and understanding of your horse to become the best possible rider. Once you survive a spook with nothing to hold onto, the fear of a buck seems small in comparison. This is a simple way to improve your riding experience and confidence.

You’re sold! So how do you start?

The best advice with bareback riding is to take it slow. If you try and rush the experience than it is possible you could suffer a fall and possibly even an injury. This will undo all the hard work you have been doing and might even cause a loss of confidence. Be sure to stay in a ring, or an area with a soft surface, so if the worst happens, you won’t be hurt.

Lunge Rope

The best way to get started is with the help of someone else. If you learn to bareback ride on a lunge rope, then it takes the fear of losing control away. Even if you do slip and accidentally kick your horse, there is no chance of them bolting away. Instead, it is a controlled and secure environment, with the chance of significantly improving. Once you are confident on the rope, it’s time to try riding alone. It is a good idea to still have someone observe you until you are 100% confident.

Faster Pace

Initially, you will just be walking, which is fine. Once you’ve mastered how to hold your legs, how to grip and all the little things, it’s time to take it to the next level. Trotting is arguable the hardest gait to master bareback. There is so much jolting that if you are going to lose your balance then it’s almost certain to be while trotting. Once you have got the hang of it then it’s all plain sailing. Cantering is smooth and rhythmical so is much easier to move with and it is unlikely you will gallop bareback. However, if you’re brave enough – hold on tight and enjoy the ride!

Obstacles

A good way to hone your new found skill is the introduction of obstacles. Try trotting over some flat poles to get used to how your horse moves when there is something in the way. When you’ve mastered that, it’s time to move on to the real fun – jumping. They don’t have to be massive – just learning to balance yourself will improve your seat massively and will be a huge help when riding with a saddle.

What if it Hurts?

There’s no denying that with bareback riding, the placement of the horse is in a sensitive area. Not to mention if you get misplaced and find yourself smashing down on a horse’s withers – it’s enough to make your eyes water. So what if you want all the benefits of riding, but can’t handle the pain? Luckily a little invention known as bareback pads is the answer for you. It does as it sounds and creates a layer of padding for both you and your horse. While it has been proven that occasional bareback riding doesn’t do any damage to their back – long and sustained rides can cause damage to the horse’s back tissue. So to avoid any pain for either party, why not invest in one?

Tempted? Hopefully, you have the urge to try bareback riding and benefit from all the craft has to offer. If you try it and find it’s not for you, then at least you and your horse will have enjoyed an exercise together. Everyone ends up a winner.

What You Can Expect Riding A Horse For The First Time

Riding a horse can be a very intimate and enjoyable experience, but not all people continue riding after their initial lessons. You can explore more options for Oahu area here: http://horsebackridingoahu.com/ To enjoy horse riding, it is essential that you are aware of all the elements involved when riding a horse. This extends beyond sitting on the horse to managing the horse, mounting the horse, and even learning new terminology. This article will provide information on what you can expect riding a horse for the first time.

1. Being Assigned A Horse

When approaching their first riding lesson, many students wonder what type of horse they will be assigned and what they are expected to accomplish during the lesson. If you have not encountered horses in the past, it is understandable that you will experience some anxiety regarding the intended mount. Reputable riding schools know that fear, anxiety, and inexperience are a terrible combination; therefore, they tend to assign new riders the older, semi-retired, easy-going horses for their first lesson.

Just as you are anxious during a first lesson, the horses in the stable can be anxious of new faces. This is one of the reasons why you should remain courteous to fellow riders and their horses when participating in a horse back riding lesson. Do not make any sudden movements and turn off your cell phone. It may be tempting, but try not to take any pictures without warning the riders or stablemen. Horses can be photosensitive, so you should ask instructors if taking photographs is permitted.

2. Entering And Leading The Horse From The Stall

In some cases, the instructor may ask you to lead your horse from the stall into the arena. This is a fun task, but there are specific considerations to make when performing the activity. Firstly, you must remember that the horse should be facing you when you enter the stall and not have his or her tail to you. If the horse has their tail to you, they may be upset or sad, and as a new rider, you probably do not know how to deal with this situation.

The majority of riding schools will have a horse tacked and ready to go before a beginner lesson; therefore, you should be able to lead the horse from the stall easily. Before leading a horse into the aisle of the barn, it is essential that you call “heads up” to ensure you do not crash into anyone else who may be going down the aisle.

3. Entering The Area

Once you enter the area, you should lead the horse into the center of the arena and turn the horse to the in-gate. Horses facing the in-gate are not surprised by other horses and are less likely to become startled. You must hold the horse with the reins below his or her chin.

4. Mounting The Horse

DO NOT mount the horse until you have been instructed to by your horse riding teacher. This is important for two reasons – the first is that you need to be shown how to mount a horse correctly, and the second is that the instructor needs to check all the equipment has been properly placed on the horse. If either of these tasks is done incorrectly, you could jeopardize the safety of you and the horse.

During an initial lesson, the instructor may offer you a ‘leg up’ to mount the horse or have you mount using a mounting block. Either way, mounting will typically be done from the left side by placing your left foot into the left stirrup and swinging your right leg over the saddle to place it into the right stirrup.

5. The Lesson

During the lesson, you will be taught how to sit on a horse and ride the animal correctly. In most cases, instructors will keep the horse in a circle around them so they can control where the horse goes. The average lesson lasts one hour and can be tiring.

Hope the information helps your horse back riding in Oahu.

NHTEC OPEN LETTER TO BRITISH HORSE SOCIETY

Dear Mrs Petersen

As you will be aware, NHTEC has been an active, ethical horse training BHS Riding club since 2008. In 2012 NHTEC became the first PRO-CHOICE Riding club in the UK and in 2013 the club submitted a formal application requesting a rule change to allow bitless bridles and optional nosebands in bitted bridles in all UK horse sport.

Over the years NHTEC has been progressive in its approach to horse training, implementing and facilitating the opportunity for our trainers and members to have access to the highest calibre of Equestrian individuals who use objective, science-based behaviour principles (learning theory) to ensure the welfare and safety of horses and their riders/owners. These equestrians have included, Dr Andrew McLean, (2007 & 2009),  Dr Helen Spence (2012),  Suzanne Rogers,  Catherine Bell,  Ben Hart (2014),  Dr. Sue Dyson (2007), Pete Ramey USA Farrier and Avis Senior BHSAI & Author, to name a few. NHTEC has established sound principles of welfare for the training and riding of horses and strong links have been developed with the scientific community, equine welfare charities and leading behaviourists.

In 2014, the British Horse Society (BHS), British Equine Federation (BEF) and British Dressage (BD) turned down NHTEC’s request for CHOICE and the rule change for both juniors and adults. If accepted, there would have been real improvements in horse welfare signifying a change in the mindset of equestrians which in turn would have created a positive impact on UK horse sport.  NHTEC feel that the value of welfare was not taken into consideration. Put simply, many horses prefer to be ridden bitless, they perform better and become safer, more responsive rides. The club believes that the failure of BEF adopting a rule change supporting CHOICE was a lost opportunity for both horse and rider.  The equestrian associations have not been able to put forward any supporting evidence to continue with the current, rigid, traditional status of banning bitless riders in many events.

Sadly, it appears that BEF, the BHS and BD are part of the problem, not the solution.  In time, NHTEC are confident that bitless riders will be proved right and public pressure will continue to demand that riders be given the CHOICE regarding bitting.  The inclusion of modern bitless bridles in all horse sport will be an ethical and progressive initiative in equestrianism.    The BEF, BHS and BD should be leading the way rather than resisting such progress.

Since 2014 NHTEC has continued to encourage and facilitate individuals, associations and equestrian establishments that share the ethos of the club, to promote fairness and equality for those riders investigating kinder, non-aversive tack and training methods.  NHTEC supports those organisations that promote benign training and interaction with horses that adopt the Least Invasive, Minimally Aversive (LIMA) principles.  NHTEC aligns its energies to organisations that promote shared ethical principles such as the International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants (IAABC), Equine Behaviour Training Consultants (EBTA), International Society of Equitation Science (ISES), Animal Behaviour Training Council (ABTC), the Association of Pet Behaviour Consultants (APBC) and other such associations.

Unfortunately NHTEC does not feel the BHS has shared this view. While some progress has been seen, it is achingly slow, with reluctance by the associations in adopting non-aversive, evidence based training.  The application of BHS training methods still relies largely on coercion and punishment.  Indeed the BHS advocates that the horse is there to be used, any change or criticism is often seen as an infringement on the riders ‘right’ to use the horse in any way they see fit.   NHTEC can only conclude that money is the fundamental reason to block change.  There are very few organisations acting as the voice for the horse, because of the inherent drive for financial reward, interest only in the traditional status quo, pandering to membership fees, promoters, sponsors and indeed celebrity.

However, NHTEC  have been pleased to see that, despite the punitive restrictions by the BHS in its licensed schools, interest has continued to flourish in bitless riding and welfare orientated ethical training.   This change is now being adopted by other riding schools who are delivering an exciting and very popular level of ridden instruction to young equestrians, namely East Devon Riding academy and closer to home, Nine Acres Equestrian.  On social media there is great interest in benign horse/human interactions across the equestrian disciplines through various groups such as Concordia ‘Putting Horses First’

Given the evidence, NHTEC feel the club can no longer justify supporting the BHS financially through membership.  This decision has not been taken lightly and it is with sadness that the club has decided to cut its links with the BHS.

There is a national groundswell of ordinary riders getting involved using ethical training methods and making valuable changes in their behaviour resulting in increased levels of welfare and understanding of their horses.   NHTEC will therefore, continue as a private, ethical training club, to support the many riders and horse owners who want to ride and own their horses in an ethical, informed, scientifically proven way.

NHTEC will continue to lobby for change for a fairer system for all horses and riders in UK competitions and to improve the welfare of the horse through ethical training and management protocols.